Do you want to improve your content marketing and PR campaigns and learn how to create content that your audience will engage with?
Like most things in life, what ‘good’ content looks like is subjective. The way most audiences consume content has certainly changed over time. A few years ago the written word was king, but now we are seeing audience preference shift to a mix of content, especially videos, social media and influencers.
Our managing director and associate director, Laura and Lucy, delivered a webinar with Chris Ashworth of Competitive Advantage yesterday on how to create compelling content that is fit for your target audience.
Also joined by one of our clients, Maria McDonald of Polypipe Building Products, they discussed the content we recently created for its ‘A Question of Regs’ campaign and how this is an excellent example of content marketing done right.
For those that missed the webinar, here are some of the hints and tips we shared in yesterday’s session:
How to set strong objectives
Before even beginning to think about the content element of your campaign, it is important to have clear objectives firmly in place. It is very easy to become carried away when creating content with all of your brilliant ideas, so having the goals you’re trying to achieve clearly set out will make it easier to stay on track to achieve them.
Where possible, setting SMART objectives (objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) is one of the best ways to do this. However, where this isn’t always possible, setting tangible KPIs works just as well. This will depend on the type of campaign you’re running, but they need to be measurable, otherwise, you won’t know if you’ve achieved them.
Having objectives clearly outlined will really help you police yourself during the content creation stage and later on down the line. Having set objectives is also particularly useful for reflection later on, as you can refer back to them at the end of the campaign or if questioned on why you’ve chosen a certain approach.
How to pick the right channels for your audience
So you’ve got your objectives, now it must be time to create your content, right? Not quite. To create content that your audience will want to engage with, you need to understand what makes them tick. Who are they? What are they doing on a day-to-day basis? Where are they consuming their content?
That last question is particularly important. Speaking to your audience to understand where they view content is fundamental to the success of your campaign. Once you have gathered this intelligence, take a step back and look at where the opportunities lie. If you don’t know where your audience is most likely to see your content, you may choose channels which are totally inappropriate for your audience and could essentially find yourself talking to an empty room, wasting all the hard work you’ve put into your brilliant content!
In Polypipe’s case, its target audience of heating installers is consuming the majority of its content on social media platforms, such as Tiktok and Instagram, so a video-led social media campaign was the perfect fit. However, if Polypipe had wanted to target another audience, such as specifiers for example, then this campaign could have missed the mark entirely as that audience consume its content through other channels.
Get creative, then refine
We’re finally at the part you’ve all been waiting for, creating the content. This is where you can let your imagination run wild, which is what many of us working in PR enjoy the most. At Refresh we like to start any campaign with a full agency ideas session. No idea is too big or too small. At the ideation stage, it’s important that people’s creativity isn’t stifled as the best ideas come when people feel free to share all of their thoughts – even the wackier ones.
Once you have your content ideas, the next step is to refine them. Ask yourself, is this achievable through the channels available? Can our budget accommodate this? And, what will our audience engage with most? This process will streamline your ideas into a well thought out campaign.
For our campaign with Polypipe, we went through this process and partnered with our video partners, Eight Engines, to produce the ‘A Question of Regs’ video campaign. The contributions from Eight Engines also highlighted the importance of collaborating with those outside of your industry to get a bigger picture. They made some excellent suggestions throughout the filming process, which really made the final result stand out.
Roll it out
When you create content which you’ve worked hard on and are incredibly proud of, it can be very tempting to show the world everything, all at once. However, this may not achieve the engagement you’re after. To avoid getting carried away, it’s important to have a really structured plan for integration, planned way ahead of time.
Again, in Polypipe’s case, we did this by maximising the content that we had and spreading this across social media channels; both Polypipe’s and also the various accounts of the influencers who participated in the campaign. What sits as one long video on Polypipe’s Future Homes Hub was rolled out across the chosen social media channels as four shorter episodes, each with teaser videos and intro clips for each of the participants. Not bad for one day of filming!
Measuring campaign success
So you’ve finally created your compelling content, all singing and dancing and it’s made its way into the world. But it doesn’t end quite there. You still need to know if your audience is engaging with it. This is where those objectives and KPIs that you set at the beginning of your campaign come into play. It’s sometimes tricky to measure the results of PR and marketing campaigns through a business and sales lens. So, as we said earlier, the more tangible your KPIs are, the better.
As is the way of the world, things won’t always go to plan. If you’re finding your KPIs difficult to achieve, it’s important to examine why. This could be due to a number of external factors, or simply that you set your KPIs too high to begin with. On the other side of the coin, whilst smashing KPIs out of the park can be an indicator that your campaign is a hit, this could also mean that you’ve set them too low. Throughout your campaign, make sure you’re keeping an eye on how you’re getting on and tweak them as necessary.